Friends and family gathered at the Shell Factory Thursday night to honor a man they say kept the community glued together.
To the city of Fort Myers, he was a businessman. But to friends, he was the life of the party.
“He’s been an amazing leader and really a glue for this community. He’s been a developer and businessman for more than 50 years,” said Fort Myers resident Dan Creighton.
“His sense of humor…nothing pulled him down. The world could be falling apart and he would say, well let’s just put it back together,” added Liston Bochette, a friend.
And to Martine Cronin, he was dad with a big heart.
“My dad was really generous. He was a tough guy but he had a funny, sweet side that I think everybody got to see,” Cronin said.
Tommy Cronin was a developer in Fort Myers and was known for his landmarks like the Shell Factory and Nature Park. He died last month at age 78.
On Thursday night, hundreds came together to honor him with one final party.
“He was obviously loved by a lot of people and I’m really glad to see a lot of people here tonight,” Cronin said.
Cronin adds that her family wanted to celebrate her father’s life with speeches, music and pictures, and says although he’s now gone, he’ll never be forgotten.
“Everybody loves their dad, but dad was one of the best fathers I could’ve ever hoped for,” Cronin said.
Tommy Cronin bought the Shell Factory in 1997 when it needed a lot of work. He and his wife poured millions of dollars into renovations.
Family members say they will continue to celebrate his life by going there.